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Am J Emerg Med. 2012 Oct;30(8):1613-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2011.11.003. Epub 2011 Dec 26.

Prospective evaluation of the treatment of pain in the ED using computerized physician order entry.

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Department of Surgery, Division of Emergency Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84132, USA.



Treatment of pain in the emergency department (ED) is a significant area of focus, as previous studies have noted generally inadequate treatment of pain in ED patients. Previous studies have not evaluated the impact of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) on the treatment of pain in the ED. We sought to evaluate treatment of pain before and after implementation of CPOE in an academic ED.


We prospectively enrolled a convenience sample of patients presenting to the ED with a pain-related complaint in 4-month periods before and after CPOE implementation. We compared numbers who received pain medications, time from registration to administration of pain medication, and repeat dosing of pain medication.


Six hundred forty-six ED patients participated in the pre-CPOE period, whereas 592 patients participated post-CPOE. Similar numbers of patients received pain medications in the pre-CPOE and post-CPOE periods (55% vs 59%; P = .139), whereas those in the post-CPOE period were more likely to receive a repeat dose of pain medications (10.5% vs 17.6%; P < .001).


The use of CPOE in the ED may offer modest benefits in the treatment of patients with pain-related complaints.

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